Meet the Star of <i>Maiden</i>

Meet the Star of Maiden

Grit. Guts. Determination. Tracy Edwards had it all when, at 26, she skippered the first all-female crew to compete in the 1989 Whitbread Around the World Race. The fact that the race was considered to be one of the most dangerous sailing competitions on earth did not deter Edwards. Nor did the onslaught of sexism and skepticism she and her crew received from male competitors and the media.

The documentary, Maiden showing as part of Seaport Cinema on The Rooftop at Pier 17 on Monday, June 13 — captures the story of a young woman with an audacious dream and the team that came together to face down icebergs and fifty-foot waves.

The film’s star and subject, Tracy Edwards, will anchor a panel discussion prior to our Seaport Cinema screening of Maiden — so come along at 6:30pm to hear how Edwards and members of her crew took on the challenges of competing in a male-dominated sport. Edwards will also share more about the Maiden Factor Foundation, which raises funds for girls’ education around the world. The Maiden team will also stay for a Q&A session after the screening.

Can’t wait until Monday to hear more? We spoke with Tracy Edwards ahead of the event, to give you a preview of her inspirational story.

What lessons from your time working on yachts as a young person have stuck with you the most?

That we are all capable of so much more than we think — and can push ourselves to limits that are beyond what we believe. Also, to learn from those around you.

What is your most memorable moment from your remarkable story?

Winning the second leg of the Whitbread coming into Australia, after the longest leg through the Southern Ocean that the race ever had. Considering that so many thought we would die on that leg, it made the victory all the more sweet!

What was the inspiration for you to connect Maiden with charity work — and why was education for girls your focus?

When we rescued Maiden in 2016 and shipped her back to the UK, I was already wondering what we would do with her. [Edwards had been forced to sell Maiden at the end of the race, but in 2014 she discovered the yacht in terrible condition in the Seychelles.] I was looking for a new project and new direction in my life and was already patron to a number of girls’ charities. After the yacht was restored, my daughter came up with the idea for Maiden to do a “lap of honor” around the world — to inspire girls and show what a girl can do if just one person believes in her. Then came the idea of raising funds for the charities I already supported and to raise awareness of the crucial need to get all girls into education.

What did you learn by taking Maiden on this lap of honor, and meeting young women from around the world?

That not enough has changed in the 30 years since Maiden! Misogyny has just changed shape — not gone away, It looks and sounds different, but the young women we speak to are still fighting for equality — in sport, business and pretty much every other area you care to mention. We hear the same stories we were telling all those years ago. I think the positives are that they feel that men are more likely to stand beside them if they ask.

You’ve accomplished so much. What keeps you going? 

If I shuffle off this mortal coil without having done everything in my power to gain equality for women and girls, and get every girl 12 years’ quality education, then I have failed.

RSVP for Seaport Cinema’s Maiden screening and panel here. You can also learn more about supporting the Maiden Factor Foundation and its mission to empower women and girls via universal access to education.